Murder charges in hit-and-run deaths of Eagan, Minnesota couple out for walk
Jonna Kojo Armartey
EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) - 57-year-old Diane Peterson and 74-year-old Roger Peterson “freaked him out” so he ran them over. That’s what 36-year-old Jonna Kojo Armartey told police after he was arrested for the hit-and-run deaths of the Eagan, Minnesota couple who were out for their nightly walk last Thursday, June 28.
Armartey was charged Monday in Dakota County with two counts of second-degree murder.
According to the criminal complaint, at 9:51 p.m. officers responded to the 2900 block of Silver Bell Road on a report of a crash between a vehicle and a pedestrian. According to witnesses, the Petersons were laying in the parking lot, bleeding and gasping for air. Both were transported to Regions Hospital where they passed away.
Witnesses told police the Petersons had been struck by a silver van, which sped away from the scene. Surveillance video from a nearby businesses showed a minivan following the Petersons as they walked through the parking lot where they were found.
SCANNER LISTENER FINDS VAN
A short time later, a witness called 911 and reported he heard about the incident while listening to a police scanner and he believed he had located the minivan in the parking lot of La Fonda’s Restaurant, just one mile from the scene.
PILL BOTTLE IDENTIFIES SUSPECT
Officers found a Dodge Caravan with front-end damage in the restaurant’s parking lot. No one was inside the vehicle, windshield was cracked with pieces of glass inside the van. A cell phone was found wedged under the passenger side windshield wiper and it was determined to be Diane Peterson’s phone. Officers could see pill bottles inside the van with the name Jonna Kojo Armartey.
While investigating the hit-and-run deaths police learned that just one day earlier, on June 27, Eagan police responded to an assist call concerning a dispute between Armartey and his family at an apartment complex near the parking lot where the Petersons were struck. Armartey had been thrown out of the apartment and had placed belongings from the apartment into the same minivan involved in the hit-and-run.
Armartey was located at a hotel in Apple Valley and taken into custody. He and the Petersons were not known to each other.
Statement from Eagan Police Department
“Roger and Diane were active members of their church and their community. They were always there for support or encouragement and pillars for family and friends. We were all family. We request privacy during this difficult time and request not to be contacted by members of the media as we grieve and
celebrate the lives of those that have been taken from us. Thank you.”